How to Prevent Drug Errors

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Well over a million Americans are injured each year by drug errors.  A medication error is defined by the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention as “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer.”  Drug errors include wrong dosage, overdose, drug interactions and medication mix-ups.

According to a study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the most prevalent medication errors include the following:

  • Improper dose of medicine – 41%
  • Giving the wrong medication – 16%
  • Administering the drug incorrectly – 16%

There are things you can do to help prevent becoming a victim of drug errors, which includes asking questions.  Don’t hesitate to ask the following:

When your doctor prescribes you a medication, request that he or she give you the name of the drug, dosage amount and any special instructions.

If you are in the hospital, don’t be afraid to inquire about the name and purpose of each medication you are given.

Ask the pharmacist if you have been given the correct drug and dosage, if you have any suspicions.  If the name is not what you thought or if the medication itself looks different, voice your concerns to your doctor and/or pharmacist.

You can also protect yourself from drug interactions by telling your doctor about any prescription and over-the-counter drugs you may be taking.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by a medication mistake, you may be able to hold the medical provider accountable.  You could be entitled to compensation.  For more information, contact an experienced Louisville medical malpractice lawyer at Gray and White Law at 1-502-637-6000 or 1-800-637-6033 (toll free).  We have the knowledge and resources to help you win your Kentucky drug error case.